In addition to the CO2 footprint, there is also a water footprint.
1 cup of coffee needs 132 l of water.
- It was developed by the English geographer John Anthony Allan in 1995.
- While 150 l of water are needed daily for showers, cooking and co, the rest of the habits, depending on the lifestyle, are between 2500 and 5000 l of virtual water.
- The concept of “virtual water” shows how much water has been consumed during the manufacturing process for a given product. It leaves a water footprint.
- 1kg of wheat needs 1,000 l of water, 1 kg of beef about 15,000 l of water!
- The more virtual water is consumed for a pair of trousers, a salad or a kilogram of steak, the more problematic and ecologically questionable is the product.
- However, natural rainwater (green) and artificial irrigation (gray) should be distinguished.
- Against the background of the threat of water scarcity on the earth, dry emerging countries and the threatening war on the water, help to develop an awareness for more sustainability.
☕ What does this mean for coffee?
- How much water does a coffee tree use during growth?
- How much water is needed for each step of the coffee production and processing.
- How much water is used in packaging, how much is used for shipping?
- The virtual water consumption for 1 kg of roasted coffee is calculated from this.
💧How much water is needed?
- Germany mainly imports coffee from Brazil and Vietnam.
- On average, 18,925 l of water are needed for the production of 1 kg of roasted coffee.
- This is 132 l for 1 cup of coffee.
- But there are big differences from country to country.
- Coffee from Vietnam, Ethiopia or Costa Rica needs only between 8,000 and 15,000 l per kg, because the cultivation areas are more productive.
- The ones with more than 25,000 l are countries such as Venezuela, Ecuador or Tanzania.
- At the same time it is not that water is wasted here, since most of the water is rainwater (green)
- In Brazil, for example, there are coffee plantations in areas with dry forests or savannahs in the state of Bahia – without shade trees in full sun.
- Central irrigation systems are used on these industrially cultivated plantations (grey).
💡What can I do?
- In order to reduce the personal coffee water footprint, one can drink Arabica instead of Robusta coffee and prefer coffee from mountainous countries. On good coffee you find this information.
- Also the processing of the coffee plays a role – so the wet processed of course consumes more water than the dry.
- Coffee with organic quality as it is produced without fertilizer and pesticides.
- Especially the “gray” water content and thus the harmful environmental effects can be saved in this way.